Zimbabwe received more than 3 000 tonnes of maize meal yesterday, which is part of the 9 000 tonnes Zambian President Rupiah Banda pledged in May this year.
Speaking at the handover of the consignment in Harare, Zambian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Sipula Kabanje immediately called for the urgent removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.
“I want to underline the point that it is not the value of this donation which counts, but the underlying gesture of solidarity which matters to us.
“Zambia is delighted with the victories scored by the inclusive Government in the quest to restore Zimbabwe as a pacesetter in the region.
“It is for this reason that we shall never tire in condemning the sanctions and calling for their immediate removal,” Dr Kabanje said.
The donation comes a few days after Zambia celebrated 45 years of independence dubbed “Reconciliation and Good Neighbourliness.”
Dr Kabanje said Zambia’s domestic and foreign policies were based on reconciliation and good neighbourliness. “We believe they are cardinal to pan-Sadc solidarity and the African Union,” he said.
The donation was handed over to Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Minister Ignatius Chombo, who was representing Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi. Minister Chombo thanked President Banda and the Zambian government for the support.
“The donation, which was originally 9 000 tonnes and has now been partly milled and converted to maize meal, was pledged by the President of Zambia, His Excellency Dr Rupiah Banda, to His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde R.G. Mugabe during the former’s visit to Zimbabwe in April 2009,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe, like other countries in the region, experienced poor rainy seasons over the past few years, negatively impacting on food security.
Minister Chombo hailed the good working relations between the Grain Marketing Board and the Food Reserve Agency of Zambia that led to the timely delivery of the donation.
The maize meal would be distributed to institutions such as old people and children’s homes, the disabled and district hospitals in the country’s 10 provinces.
Meanwhile, Zambia has officially congratulated the Warriors following a 3-1 demolition of Chipolopolo in the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup last week, but warned that the battle of the Zambezi was far from over.
“Let me congratulate you heartily for the Warriors’ winning the Cosafa Cup. Naturally, we would have been happy to win. But we are happier Zimbabwe won,” Dr Kabanje said.
He added: “In Zambian tradition, we do not believe in making the host toil for nothing. Please keep the cup safely for as soon as you cease to be the host, the Chipolopolo will get the Cup.”